Be Passionate About Our Reunion!
With the pandemic in our rear-view mirror, now is the time to get long-time friends back together. And what better way to do that than by holding a Rotary Reunion—and combining it with our traditional Passions Day on January 31st? Also, don’t forget to sign up for Brown Bag Day on February 7th! (See below for more information about this and other upcoming meetings.)
Grants, Speech Contest & Much More
The deadline is rapidly approaching for applications from community organizations seeking one of our annual Community Grants. And we’re looking for a few more volunteers for this year’s District 5180 High School Speech Contest. (See below for these and other club announcements.)
“Because Our Fathers Lied”
Recap of the Weekly Meeting of January 24, 2023
Reported by Paul Keefer
Past President Fred Teichert eloquently introduced our featured guest speaker, Craig McNamara. A farmer from Winters, McNamara has quite a resumé: State Board of Agriculture, founder of the Center for Land-Based Learning, and most recently, author of a memoir about this life as the son of former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. Craig introduced his book, Because Our Fathers Lied, through a short reading, then added depth through his own interpretations of what he saw firsthand while visiting the White House as a teenager. Interestingly, the title of his book was derived from a Rudyard Kipling poem about his own lament of ensuring that his son could fight during World War II, only to witness him die in the war. Craig expressed pride in his father and his achievements as a man and a father. Yet, he also spoke of the unspeakable in his household, which were details on the Viet Nam conflict, and his father’s perspective that put loyalty to the President above loyalty to the country. Craig also conveyed a number of life lessons from his father’s book, The Fog of War: Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara, including (1) Have empathy for your enemy, (3) Some things are beyond oneself, and (11) we can’t change human nature. Certainly, we were fortunate to have Craig be both transparent and vulnerable during this deeply moving and emotional talk.
Thought for the Day
John McIntyre primed our topic for our speaker, discussing the importance of our veterans and the woeful support that we continue to offer to them. John offered sobering statistics regarding our disregarded veterans including 92,000 in the region with more than 700 veterans being homeless. Further, on a national level, one out of every five veterans is homeless. John emphasized that not only should we reflect on this but certainly be change agents for our cherished veterans.
Thank-Yous and Introductions
Wielding the gavel once again this week was President Linda Geery (CFO, California Lawyers Association). Joining her at the head table were Chair of Day, PP Fred Teichert (Executive Director/Teichert Foundation), Craig McNamara (Owner of Sierra Orchards and Founder of the Center for Land-based Learning), and sponsored guest Rebecca Smith (Partner, Downey Brand, LLP, and board chair of the Center for Land-Based Learning)
Rotarians helping Rotarians
Our meetings are only successful with all hands on deck. President Linda thanks Giuliano Kornberg (Executive Director/Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera), Liz McClatchy (Retired/Safety Center Incorporated), and Danielle McGarrity (Development Director/Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento) for serving as Greeters. PAUL “Scoop” Keefer handled the Pulse reporting. John “Ancil Adams” Swentowsky offered his professional photography skills capturing, incredible images of Mr. McNamara and our club. Surender Singal (Retired Electrical Engineer/US Army Corps of Engineers) served up the red and white wine with a smile!
Guest of Meeting Sponsor

Rebecca Smith provided an overview of the Center for Land-Based Learning, of which she is the board chair. Ms. Smith focused her discussion on how this organization successfully helps students see themselves as agriculture advocates and agriculture as a possible career choice. Her discussion included three strategies the Center uses: outreach to urban community schools, apprenticeships, and farmer training programs.

Rotarian Spotlights
Past President Diane Woodruff spotlighted five club members during her portion of Tuesday’s program:
Danielle McGarrity has been a Rotarian for four years. She is the Development Director for the Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento. Danielle says that one of the most memorable moments in her fundraising career took place at the University of Washington, where she got to work with Bill Gates. She filmed a silly fundraising video showing him looking for money around the campus—fishing for money in the campus fountain, using a metal detector to scan the grass, and digging for change in the office couch cushions. She said Bill has a fantastic sense of humor, and that he was a delight to work with. A fun fact about Danielle is that she loves to cook and she has made lasagna made more than 200 times in the last two years. This is because she volunteers with a grassroots national organization called Lasagna Love, which was founded during the pandemic by a New England homemaker who just wanted to do something to help others in need. So, she started making lasagna and delivering home-cooked meals to families who were having a hard time. Their motto is to spread love, joy, and hope one lasagna at a time and to let people in need know that someone cared about them to make a home-cooked meal for them. Danielle decided to join the effort and has made and has delivered more than 200 lasagnas to families right here in our Sacramento community.
John Goralka is an attorney who owns his own firm. He has been named one of the Best Lawyers in the United States in the areas of both Tax Law and Trusts & Estates by the oldest and most respected peer-review companies in the legal profession. He is a certified specialist in both Tax Law and Trusts & Estates. John is also a regular author for many publications including Kiplinger Wealth Management,, and Wealth Management. The thing that John is most proud of in his life is raising his two children as a single parent from the time they were ages 2 and 5 while working full-time as a lawyer. He did so many fun things with them. John and his son are both die-hard Kings fans. They both attended what they thought was going to be the last Kings game in Sacramento, at ARCO arena, because they heard that the team had been sold and would be moving to Seattle. His son was so upset that the Kings might be leaving that he stayed at the arena until midnight and put up a “shrine” to the Kings when he returned home. Now we know that John’s son is the real reason the Kings are still here in Sacramento and probably why they are doing so well. The fun fact about John is that he just got married, one month ago at the Grand Island Mansion in the Sacramento Delta. John loved getting married there because he has been taking his children and friends there for brunch for 30 years. There is a wonderful video of John’s wedding on his webpage. Everyone at the wedding commented that they had never seen John or his new bride happier. After they got married, they spent their honeymoon in Kauai, where they toured the island by helicopter, scuba-dived, and enjoyed a luau.
Matt Page is a new member of our club. He just joined 9 months ago. Matt is a financial planner and partner in the Lucas Group of Financial Planners. He has worked in the financial services industry for 20 years here in Sacramento. An interesting fact about Matt is that he got his start working for Elfrena Foord. In fact, she sponsored Matt for his Certified Financial Planner designation. Asked what kind of boss Elfrena was, he said she was fantastic to work for. Elfrena must have done a good job, because Matt is the current president of the Financial Planners Association of Northern California and the Incoming president of the Sacramento Estate Planning Council. Matt ran his first half-marathon in March, and he liked it so much that he plans on doing it again. A fun fact about Matt is that he loves cooking, and particularly smoking meats. He has three different types of barbecues, and sometimes when he is cooking for large groups, he has all three going at the same time. One time when he had a backyard full of people, he was very embarrassed when his smoker caught on fire, and he had to put it out with a fire extinguisher. Asked if the meat was perfectly smoked, he said that while it looked good, he decided not to serve it because he didn’t think his guests would like the flavor of the fire extinguisher marinade. Simply put, Matt is a smokin’ hot guy.
Shirlee Tully has been in Rotary for 10 years. Most of you know that she is the Chief Development Officer at Capital Public Radio. What you may not know is that her first job was as a professional ballerina. She always wanted to be a professional ballet dancer, and she started dancing when she was seven years old. She worked hard and was accepted into the very prestigious School of American Ballet in New York. She and her family lived in Birmingham, Alabama, at the time, but after lots of discussion with her parents (and some tears), she moved to New York by herself when she was only 16 years old to start her professional career. She worked as a professional ballerina for six years. Then, after getting injured, she decided it was time to get an education. And, get an education she did! She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Georgetown University. One interesting story from that time in New York. She was asleep, and was awakened by the tragic news that John Lennon had been shot—just a few blocks away from where she lived. She actually heard the gunshots. She turned on the TV and saw Dr. Stephan Lynn pronounce him dead. Shirlee was a babysitter for Dr. Lynn’s children, and she says this experience deeply affected her. She joined all the people who were gathering in Central Park to mourn John Lennon. She said that spot, where they gathered, became known as Strawberry Fields. Fun Fact about Shirlee: She met so many famous people while she was dancing in New York: Yul Brenner, Chaka Kahn, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mick Jagger, George Balanchine, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolph Nureyev, and Robin Williams. Who impressed her the most? It was Mick Jagger. She was working to support herself at Capezzio. Mick came into the shop with his girlfriend, Jerry Hall. Soon, the shop was filled with screaming fans and their security moved them back into their limo. Shirlee then had to bring outfits to Jerry and Mick to their limo and she said it was very exciting. She said that Mick Jagger impressed her more as an English gentleman than a rock star.
Megan Wygant has been in our club for three years. Megan first heard about Rotary when she was in high school and received a Rotary scholarship for her excellent writing ability. Megan was such an outstanding writer that she went to USC, where she graduated magna cum laude and was a Phi Beta Kappa. After college, she wrote and produced several plays. She then went on to work as the manager of the Berkeley Repertory Theater for several years, gaining valuable experience for her current job. Megan is currently the executive director of CLARA (E. Claire Raley Center for the Performing Arts), which is bringing arts education programs to more than 85,000 students in the Sacramento area. Her strong leadership has seen the program grow exponentially over the three years she has been there. The fun fact about Megan is that she is an excellent open-water swimmer. Would you believe she swam across Lake Tahoe on a three-person team. But if that was not enough, she also swam across the English Channel on a six-person relay team. She sometimes writes poetry while she is swimming. The rhythm of the strokes is similar to the rhythm of poetry.
Upcoming Meetings
Rotary Reunion/Passions Day
With the pandemic in our rear-view mirror, now is the time to get long-time friends back together. And what better way to do that than by holding a Rotary Reunion—and combining it with our traditional Passions Day on January 31st? We’re inviting all former club members who are still in the area to be guests of the club for our Reunion Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 31st, at the Annunciation Greek Church. PLEASE NOTE: We will be starting the festivities earlier than usual because it will also be Passions Day—with a number of our current members setting up at tables around the perimeter of the auditorium and sharing their passions (hobbies, talents, and so on) before the start of the regular meeting. It will be a great way for everyone to mingle and get acquainted, or reacquainted! So, keep an eye out for the invitation email and register right away. And if you know of a former club member who would passionately enjoy attending, please contact them now to make sure they know they’re invited. And by the way, there are still three spots open for Rotarians who would like to share their passions. Contact Past-President Peter Dannenfelser ( or Sarah Hodge ( if you’re feeling passionate.
Brown Bag Day
Don’t forget that Tuesday, February 7th, is Brown Bag Day—when we traditionally get together in small groups hosted at various members’ locations. There are nine different choices for you, one of them being the “Concours d’Mediocre.” Hosted by Dan Fenocchio and Jeff Stone, this is not your typical black-tie auto extravaganza. In addition to some of their vehicles, Dan and Jeff invite you to bring your own to show off. So, if you own a vehicle that you would like to display in their informal show-and-tell format, sign up now for that Brown Bag session using the link below. It can be an old car, new car, muscle car, sports car, SUV, daily driver, weekender, best of the show, or even a project car. They are also accepting motorcycles and boats if they can fit within a standard automobile parking stall. After you sign up, they ask that you email them to confirm ( or And remember, in addition to the “Concours,” you can visit Broadway Sacramento, or go backstage at Capital Public Radio’s brand-new downtown facilities, or be inspired by what one organization does to help families in crisis stay together. Or, you could sip wine at a private tasting, or have lunch in a thatched cottage near the Crooked Mile, or learn ways to avoid being sued by a disgruntled employee. Or, you might want to visit an organization that gets kids into college or ventures into a real man cave. Click here to sign up:
Club Announcements
Community Grants Submission Deadline
Every year, our club makes thousands of dollars of grants to deserving community nonprofit organizations. The deadline for organizations to apply for a grant is next Tuesday (January 31st). If you know of an organization you believe is worthy of consideration, make sure they know about his opportunity. To be considered, they should complete the application form, which can be found on our website at:
District 5180 Speech Contest
We will again be participating in the annual District High School Speech Contest and DAVID BRANDENBURGER is again heading up our efforts for the competition that will begin at the club level and culminate in the finals in May during the District Conference. David could use a few more volunteers to help with our event in early March. If you’re willing to help out, contact David at
Districts 5180 Conference
The annual District 5180 Conference will be held in Sacramento May 5-7. As the largest club in the district, Rotary Club of Sacramento hopefully will be well-represented. Conference details and a registration link can be found at
Rotary People of Action Day
Rotary International People of Action Day is April 15, 2023. President LINDA is looking for a local service project that we can conduct on that day. ANY TAKERS?
Dictionary Project
Here is another service opportunity that got put on hold because of the pandemic. We’re looking for volunteers to help distribute nearly 1,000 dictionaries to third-graders at schools in low-income areas in early April. You will actually go into the classroom and help show the kids how to use their new books. For many of these recipients, it will be the first book they’ve ever owned. If you’d like to help out, contact Jim Culleton ( or April Javist (
Photo Gallery
(Courtesy of John Swentowsky)